Tuesday, 25 November 2014

My attempts at Basket-making, Socks and Gluten Free Xmas Cake

Hello lovely fellow bloggers, I hope you are all keeping warm if you are experiencing our sudden winter spell in the U.K.  I have even got our winter duvet out to put on the bed later!

I thought I would be brave and show you the first basket I made in the basket- making workshop I have been attending.  Don't snigger, I know it's a bit wonky and has bits sticking out where they shouldn't.  I haven't quite finished it yet as I have to get new secateurs to snip off some bits sticking out, but I love it and couldn't wait to start using it.  It looks very tiny in the photos as I have huge balls of chunky wool in it, but it is actually a decent size and could be used as a picnic basket in the summer.  During the next workshop I will start another, I am loving the whole experience, it is hard on my hands which aren't the strongest after having my carpal tunnel operated on, but really enjoyable.

These are some chunky socks I am knitting, yes I am becoming a bit obsessed with knitting socks after completing my first pair a couple of months ago.  After seeing Kristies mukluc slippers over on http://journeynorthof49.blogspot.co.uk  which I love,  I thought I would try to add soles to them.  Thank you for the advice yesterday, I will be trying various suggestions, to see which works best.  I had the idea of knitting socks for the family for Xmas but it is going so slowly they may be ready for Xmas 2015 at this rate!

I have also included the recipe for the Gluten Free Xmas cake I made the other day.  I won't be able to tell you what it is like until after Xmas obviously but I liked the ingredients.  It is from Delicious Magazine

450 grams luxury mixed dried fruit
250g dried figs, quartered
175g glace cherries
150 ml ruby port (or dark rum)
grated zest and juice of 1 orange
225 g dairy-free sunflower margarine ( I used butter as I am not dairy free)
175g light muscovado sugar
4 large eggs
225g gluten free plain flour
2 tsp ground mixed spice
50g ground almonds
100g pecan nuts

I used port in it as I like it with cheese, whereas the rum probably wouldn't be used so would be a waste.


Grease and line the base and sides of a 20cm loose bottomed deep round cake tin with baking paper

Put the dried fruit, cherries, port or rum and orange zest and juice into a large saucepan.  Bring to the boil, then simmer gently for 15 mins.  Remove from the heat and cool.

Preheat the oven to 150 C/fan130c/gas2

Beat the margarine/butter and sugar together until pale.  Beat in the eggs one at a time.  Fold in the flour with a pinch of salt, then add the mixed spice and ground almonds until well combined.  Stir in the fruit and pecan nuts and spoon into the prepared tin.  Level the surface and bake for 3 1/2 hours until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Cool in the tin for 30 mins, then take out and cool on a rack.  Discard the baking paper and re wrap in baking paper and foil.  Keep in an airtight tin for up to 2 months

I will be 'feeding' it every couple of weeks, and decorating it nearer Xmas.

Chickpea xx


  1. Your basket looks brilliant. I've just seen a huge leather trimmed wicker umbrella stand over at the Highgrove web site. I would love to make one of those. They also have some gorgeous, but expensive, willow garden pieces. You might be interested.


  2. That basket looks great cannot see any bits poking out. Very impressed. I would love to have a try at something like that. Do you make pastry with GF pastry ever? Is it the same as regular flour? x

  3. 'Kay - how do I go about ordering basket? It's brilliant - well done :)

    Love the socks too...

  4. Fab socks and even fabb-er basket. Well done,I would love to have a go at basketmaking

  5. I will have a look Jean x

    haha, not taking orders just yet x

    Hazzy if you look under my gluten free tags, the one that shows you my blind also has gf cheese scones and pastry recipes. Hope your gf meal planning is going ok x

  6. Thanks very much. I looked yesterday but only looked at the tabs, didn't realise the side things were clickable. There's loads for me to read thank you x

  7. I love the basket. I bought a basket I saw being made in Brittany. I actually wanted it as it was wonky nothing says hand made more to me.

  8. I think the basket looks wonderful.
    What a great class to take.
    I have always wanted to try to knit socks but I no loner have the ability to hold the needles. The kids classes were they learn to knit crazy socks has always appealed to me.
    Since I don't drink Christmas cake is not something I can have. So it is just fruit cake for me.

    cheers, parsnip

  9. Your basket looks great! I've never made one before, and I'd probably be terrible at it, so I think any attempt is pretty awesome!

  10. Love your new basket, its fantastic, well done you must be so proud of yourself. The socks look great, I have never made any but fancy a go, I might make that my winter challenge. :-)

  11. I think your basket is brilliant!!! I love the way that you made the handle nice and high too as I often find that the handles don't allow you to put taller things in, so I think is great!! xx

  12. Thanks Pensive Pensioner :) It is very addictive!

    Hope you find it useful Hazzy x

    I love wonky things too Sol. The tutor looked at me somewhat appalled when I said I prefer things to look a bit rustic and handmade. :)

    Thank you Angry Parsnip :)

    I'm sure you would be great at it Jennifer x

    Making socks is my new 'thing' Karen, I think its because I can see an end to them. I am such a slow knitter if I made something else it would take months!

    I made it deliberately high Amy, (a bit higher than the tutor advised) but I use baskets a lot and like to have enough room to fill it and my arm to still fit under the handle. They often have knitting needle in them or in the summer are full of picnic food with a blanket on top. x

  13. Your basket looks great, well done, it will last you for years, the first one I ever made was a large log basket some 15 years ago, it is in daily use, has moved (packed with all manner of things)from Ireland to Spain and back again, and is still going strong.

  14. It looks fantastic, well done you.

  15. I love wicker baskets but then again I am a basket case, a wonky one as well!!

  16. The basket looks fabulous, and definitely not as if it's a first attempt.

  17. Thank you knittynutter, Joanne and Scarlet :)

    Julee - lol xx

  18. I love your basket... Very clever!


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